By @TheMarkDalton

Apple has put the wrap on the WWDC 2016 keynote. As ever, WWDC was all about the software. There was no new hardware announced at the keynote and we didn’t expect any new hardware either despite the usual rumblings. However, updates were revealed for watchOS, tvOS, OS X and iOS 10.

Here is a recap of the event with details of each new update and my usual friendly warnings both at the start and the end of this piece.

Friendly Reminder: You should not install the iOS beta, or any beta for that matter on your primary device. If you choose to take that risk then please do not moan about things which are “broken” on Twitter…this is beta software for a reason. 

If you do download and use the beta software, you should at the very least provide feedback through the supported channels. That is what beta periods are for!

watchOS 3

watchOS

watchOS 3 is the next iteration if the Apple Watch operating system. It will be available to the public this fall and one area of improvement is app performance. The biggest problem users have encountered so far is that painful feeling of waiting a few seconds for an app on the watch to open.

It should be instant, well now it finally is pretty much instant. Performance is now seven times faster then before so apps on the watch should open and refresh instantly. It is crucial for Apple to get this right as it has been one of the sore points of watchOS to date.

watchOS 3 is also bring updates to fitness, you will be able to share activity data with friends and a new app called Breathe will help users with deep breathing techniques to reduce stress.

watchOS 3 will also include a control centre similar to that on iOS and give access to functions such as Airplane Mode. Users will be able to respond to messages on the watch using Scribble which will allow you to write on the screen using your fingers.

There is also an SOS feature when you hold the side button which can be used to call the emergency services from the watch.

More Information here: http://www.apple.com/watchos-preview/

tvOS

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According to Apple, the future of TV is apps and last year they introduced third party development on the device. This year there is a new remote app for iPhone and iPad and if you hate syncing your accounts using activation codes in browsers there is now a single sign on mode which lets you access all the channels available from the cable provider.

Siri can also be used now to search YouTube and can look up categories when you are looking for stuff to watch. tvOS includes a dark mode and automatic download of apps between iOS and tvOS has been enabled so if you download something onto iOS it will show up on your Apple TV when you access it.

More information here: http://www.apple.com/tvos-preview/

macOS

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OS X is no more, it is now macOS and this years OS is called macOS Sierra. The biggest feature coming to Sierra is Siri integration. The digital assistant will be able to do deep searches of the system as well as being able to play music, find a time for a movie or find images on the web.

You can then drag and drop images from Siri to the desktop or wherever you are working which is pretty neat. iCloud Drive will be able to sync documents and desktop folders between macOS and iOS devices.

Optimised storage will allow users to free up space by shifting old stuff into the cloud instead. It will also delete used app installers, remove duplicate downloads, caches, logs and any junk you don’t need.

Picture in Picture will be available on macOS so when you play a video but need to respond to an important email you will be able to pop the video out into a separate floating box and it can be moved around the screen.

Apple Pay will be available in Safari, unfortunately no word on Apple Pay coming to Ireland at the moment.

Universal clipboard was one which was greeted enthusiastically by the crowd. You will be able to sync your clipboard between devices, so when you copy something on your iOS device you will be able to paste it into a document on your Mac.

Finally, auto unlock will allow users to unlock their device without needing a password. By simply wearing your Apple Watch, the Mac will unlock when you are in close proximity to it.

More information here: http://www.apple.com/macos/sierra-preview/

iOS 10

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iOS 10 is coming with a lot of upgrades. It is by no means a huge overhaul to the system but Apple is bringing some great functionality.

Lockscreen

Starting with the lockscreen, Apple is finally adding functionality and it is about time too! The lockscreen is being redesigned with rich notifications and interactive live status updates. You can simply swipe to get to your camera now and widgets are accessible to the left of the lockscreen through the today widget panel. 3D touch will allow users to get more information by pressing on these widgets. There is also a raise to wake feature similar to that of the Apple Watch, when you raise your iPhone it will automatically turn the screen on.

Siri

Siri was to be the big one and now Siri will be opened up to third party developers. That means you will be able to use Siri for apps like Uber, Lyft or WhatsApp. It is a much needed update that will bring Siri closer to the competition as the digital assistant market continues to grow rapidly.

Quick Type

Quick typing has been made much smarter, Apple will now use deep learning to make smarter suggestions so if someone sends you a message asking for an email address the idea is that it should appear as a suggestion in quick type options.

Photos

Apple is also bringing functionality to Photos, similar to what Google has done recently with their photos application. Photos will be more organised for search and short collections will be automatically generated based on similar photos and information in the camera roll. Facial and image recognition will be largely at play here however nothing groundbreaking as it is functionality we have had for around a year now in Google Photos.

Maps

Apple is still trying to make strides with Maps. It was a rough start for Maps when it was launched with iOS 6. Initially Maps was a disaster and much work has been put in to try and turn things around. With each version of iOS, Maps has improved and until recently I was using Google Maps but finally found myself confident enough in Apple Maps to change back. Maps will now be open to developers and Eddy Cue demoed on stage what that would be like. Basically you could use Opentable to see how long it would take to get to the restaurant, book an Uber and pay with Apple Pay without having to leave the app.

Apple Music

Apple Music has been completely overhauled. It has been stripped back to a simple and bold design which is mostly black and white. The connect tab has been folded into the For You tab which is a wise move as not many of us probably care about “Ping 2.0” and there is no need for it to be front and centre. There is also a music screen in the control centre which is now separate and accessed when swiping when the control centre is open.

Apple News

Apple News has been redesigned to help content stand out and stand alone from the rest. It also comes with subscription support and breaking news notifications. The only thing that irritates me is that to get News we have to set our region to US because it is still not available in Ireland yet officially. No word on whether that has changed or not.

Home

Apple is also getting serious about home automation with a new Home app which allows you to control items such as your smart thermostat or your lights. Finally, Apple is addressing smart homes and starting to take it seriously.

iMessage

Apple revealed big changes to iMessage and the concept seems to be ‘make it fun and cute!’ which to be honest, is not a bad idea given the current success of Snapchat. iMessage will have bigger emoji and will allow you to increase text size to emphasise if you are shouting or whimpering. Invisible Ink is also a new feature which will obscure the message until you swipe it away to reveal with your finger.

iMessage is being opened to developers so they can create separate apps on top of the platform such as sticker apps or apps where you can transfer payments to people.

More information here: http://www.apple.com/ios/ios10-preview/

 

Swift Playgound

Finally, Apple revealed Swift Playground which is designed to help teach kids how to code. When you open the app there will be a number of lessons which will teach kids how to code through games and fun animations.

The app will run on the iPad and will take advantage of a special keyboard on the iPad specific to coding. The idea is to give kids a chance to learn the basics before tacking a coding project by themselves.

 

Friendly Reminder: You should not install the iOS beta, or any beta for that matter on your primary device. If you choose to take that risk then please do not moan about things which are “broken” on Twitter…this is beta software for a reason. 

If you do download and use the beta software, you should at the very least provide feedback through the supported channels. That is what beta periods are for!

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